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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional. Subtle and sensitive.
The Shock of the Fall is the best book I have read this year (I read at least one novel a week); it's also the first book I've read in one sitting and the first one that's made me cry this year. Essentially the story is about the death of Simon, a young teenager with Down Syndrome and the way that his family copes (and doesn't cope) after the accident. The parents don't...
Published 1 month ago by K. Cory-Wright

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heading back.
At first, I couldn't get on with this - too sad, too quirkily presented for me - but I returned to it in the light of the Costa book award win and persevered, ultimately finding it to be a touching and empathetic read.

Some of Matt's thoughts seemed a little too conveniently contrived - one could almost feel the author 'sitting on his narrator's shoulder' - and...
Published 7 months ago by Sue Kichenside


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional. Subtle and sensitive., 15 Aug 2014
By 
K. Cory-Wright (Ecuador) - See all my reviews
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The Shock of the Fall is the best book I have read this year (I read at least one novel a week); it's also the first book I've read in one sitting and the first one that's made me cry this year. Essentially the story is about the death of Simon, a young teenager with Down Syndrome and the way that his family copes (and doesn't cope) after the accident. The parents don't talk about it, nor does the loveable granny, but we see through the eyes of the younger son, Matthew, how it affects them all. Inwardly, each family member blames him or herself. But no one suffers as much as the younger son. At first, you can't be sure what is happening to the younger son. You know that something isn't right, and gradually it becomes clear that he is suffering from schizophrenia. His brother Simon lives on in his mind, until he becomes another character, leaving and breathing the same space as him. The author Filey is in fact a mental health nurse, which is why he is able to tell a story like this so sensitively and make it so realistic. Even the ending is uplifting in its own way. I suspect that if I had known I was going to read about a teenager's descent into mental illness, I might not have chosen it, but don't let the subject matter put you off. The novel is so perfectly nuanced, told with subtle humor (in the style of "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), and with enough suspense, you want to keep reading. In my case, I did. And it was well worth it.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning.., 15 Feb 2014
By 
Mel R "MAR" (Gloucestershire UK) - See all my reviews
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I was totally gripped by this book from page 1. The story seems simple...a journey through mental illness..sounds dire?? Not at all!! The writers style is beautiful, full of pathos and humour and pithy philosophical insights. Lots of quotes to highlight. Recommended without reservation.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychologically Engaging, 10 Aug 2014
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The story was rather emotionally engaging, meaning that I couldn't put it down at times. Other times the story actually disturbed me, and I felt a little bit swamped in the mind of the narrator. I suppose this is a good thing, seeing as you start to feel very involved in the story.
The novel is filled with ups and downs, and leaves you feeling a bit peculiar. That said, this book is a worthwhile read! If you enjoy psychology, this fictional novel provides an insight into the struggles of someone who suffers with schizophrenia, and is quite interesting in a fictional kind of way. Overall, I did enjoy it and believe this is very well written. And I have a BA in Creative Writing so can sniff out a good novel!
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136 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 12 May 2013
By 
Welsh Annie (Wetherby) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Hardcover)
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When reading at the weekend, I have some rules - I can read before getting up, but must not sit down with it again until after lunch. With this wonderful book, I tore up the rulebook and read it in one glorious sitting.

I was absolutely fascinated by this story narrated by Matthew Homes, a teenager suffering with mental illness in the wake of the sudden death of his brother Simon. For a difficult read in terms of subject matter, this is an easy and flowing read - a strange comment maybe, with the fragmented time frame, the different typefaces, and the dips into and out of Matt's mental illness, but it was all accomplished so effortlessly. There are lovely touches of humour, acute observations about life and human behaviour, and a set of exceptionally well drawn subsidiary characters.

I particularly liked Matt's parents - the tableau presented of them sitting as a family watching Eastenders, the father's awkwardness with his "mon ami" greeting and secret handshake, and the mother's attempts at home schooling after Simon's death (where Matt was forced to make deliberate mistakes to get her attention). His grandmother, Nanny Noo, is also a wonderful creation - calling at Matt's every other Thursday, cooking pasta bake, smoking one of her menthol cigarettes from the kitchen drawer, and already familiar with mental illness elsewhere in the family. I also loved the use of letters - Denise's attempts to get Matt to attend his medical appointments, and particularly the wonderful invitations.

It's hard to believe this is a first novel, so accomplished is the writing - but from hearing the author interviewed on Simon Mayo's Book Club, I know this book was a long time in the conception and writing, and that he continues to work as a mental health nurse. An incredibly moving read, and very highly recommended.
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76 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 25 July 2013
This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Hardcover)
I saw this book in a book review in a magazine and thought I'd give it a go. I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading the novel.

It's striking and quirky, the novel is written from the point of view of the main character and it allows the reader to really see into the depths of his character and how he was able to spiral into mental illness. I thought the way that the author depicted this downturn into his character to make him end up in an mental unit was well expressed and clear. The guilt that he felt about his brothers death was touching and the way that the scenes after his death and how his family went on living were really sad and very realistic.

One of the reasons why I think it is so effective is that the author previously worked as a mental health nurse so he was able to impart specialised knowledge of dealing with people with mental illness and mental deterioration.

I loved this book and am so glad that I took a chance on it and would certainly recommend it to anyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect novel, 28 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Shock of the Fall (Paperback)
I apologize straight from the start if what I am about to say has already been said by the other five-star reviewers here; but The Shock of the Fall is such an extraordinary book, it deserves as many stars as it can get.

Nathan Filer has, quite simply, written the perfect novel. This is an absolutely superb book, everything about it is exquisite: the plot with its twists and turns, the characterization, the suspense (the book is about grief, the descent into madness, guilt, confusion, love-hate family relationships, tragic but unavoidable misunderstandings, isolation and alienation . . . and yet a page-turner at the same time. That in itself is a fantastic achievement already!); and then, there is the writing itself.

Ah, the writing. This novel is so amazing, so beautifully written and it sneaks up on you, what with the writer being so completely unpretentious at the same time. No 'rosy fingers of dawn' here, no pointless paragraphs, characters, happenings - and this is why I consider it perfect. Not a single word in it is superfluous; everything is crisp, tight, elegant in its simplicity which nevertheless must have taken an enormous amount of work to achieve. Hugely important and often harrowing scenes, intense emotions, the whole tragedy of human life are rendered in incredibly laconic sentences which pack such a punch, you can't help but be impressed even as you weep. We, the readers, are given just about enough to figure out shock and horror, pain, bereavement, feelings of helplessness and alienation, all by ourselves. This is 'show not tell' at its best. One has the impression The Shock of the Fall might have started as a 900-page manuscript and, through painstaking re-writes and skilful editing, has become the highly polished gem it is now.

Perhaps it's best if I follow Filer's lead and end my review now, I am running out of superlatives anyway, and I have already said 'exquisite'. So, in conclusion, I warmly advise you to read this book, and pay attention from the very start. It is a thing of beauty even though a happy read it ain't. (Personally I am baffled by the reviews, here on Amazon and by professional critics + blurbs on the book itself, which claim this novel is funny! I found not a single funny moment in it, but then again, I am an exceedingly sensitive soul.) This book will break your heart but it will make you think . . . it's wonderful in every way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional and lifelike, 10 Aug 2014
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I am a community nurse working with people with learning disabilities and also mental health problems. This book made me consider how people with downs syndrome enrich our lives and how mental illness can arise from our past . It make you think of what it's like to be in hospital and how it feels to the
Msbrickleyperson's. It also brings the reality of budget cuts in community services and makes you consider the impact this will have on people. Excellent read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read, 8 Feb 2014
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I would urge you to read this - a worthy prize winner. I felt I was on the journey with Matt and there was laughter and tears. A stunning debut.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great first novel, 14 Feb 2014
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Nathan Filer's compassion and understanding of mental health issues shines through this outstanding novel. I would highly recommend this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worthy winner!, 10 Feb 2014
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An amazingly touching and moving read. Captivating and chaotic a must read. I can't wait for his next book, until then, this one is brilliant.
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The Shock of the Fall
The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (Paperback - 7 Jan 2014)
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